Sheriff's Estate - The Vault

This room covers almost the entire ground floor of this house. The majority is taken up by a stylish reception area; three chunky, white leather couches places in a neat U-shape, with a low table in the centre. Another corner holds a modern, black table, six comfortable chairs placed around it as though for conference. The final feature is a bar, well-equipped behind it and with a pair of chunky fridge-freezers, containing a variety of synthetic blood. In one corner is a staircase, leading upstairs. On the same wall is a door through to the only area on this floor not part of this room, where sits a small bathroom and the route downstairs, a featureless door, metal constructed and lockable from one side only, though plated to fit with the design of the house.
Three walls are white, the fourth covered in ceramic panels to give some colour to the place. The floor is tiled, in a pleasant, neutral shade. Windows at regular intervals stretch from floor to ceiling, concealed blackout blinds above them. One wall bears a huge flatscreen television, and one aware of their surroundings will spot the speakers concealed at various points in the room. The general feel of this area is a clinical style, a blank, neutral canvas for whatever happens to be going on. Those who know Will generally refer to this area as The Vault, for the round pillars that stretch up to the roof.

Night has fallen, the skies are clear, and the moon sitting neatly above the Dallas skyline. William Grant lounges on a couch, his lithe form stretched across the leather cushions. With his own cell to his ear, he taps the final button. Somewhere, a phone begins to ring. The caller ID is unlisted.

Twice his everyday wages for overtime. A healthy bonus. That is what was promised to Ivan, bribing him to remain in the office even after it had closed in order to attend to the particular person of interest that has been expected and summoned to contact the office. The blinds are drawn, but all the lights have been kept on, and with a pencap in his mouth, the man is currently making marks of a couple of separate papers. When the phone finally rings, the lad almost jumps, his green eyes rising to read the caller ID.

Could it be? After two rings, he has gathered up his cool and picks up the device. "Hello, you've reached the office of Mayor McNaab," Ivan intones, cool and calm, at least over the phone. "This is Ivan Fontane speaking."

"This is William Grant," says he, into the phone. The faintest hint of a Southern drawl sits over a fairly neutral accent. "I understand you wish to meet me."

"William Grant…" Ivan echoes, glancing over the files he has open on his desk even as his heart skips a beat. Of course he knows who he is - the witch is a lot of things, but he is especially good at his job. "Ah, of course! You are…the Sheriff of Dallas, is that correct? I'm just trying to make sure we haven't been misinformed and…" Beat. "Ahem. Yes, yes, I do wish to meet you, on behalf of the mayor."

Will says, "I am he. In ten minutes time, there will be a midnight blue Jeep outside the Mayor's office building, Ivan," says Will, a gentle reminder that he knows his stuff too. The tone is not unpleasant, not threatening, nice and neutral. "It will bring to you an untapped and unwired location. Do not look out of the windows, or talk to the driver. I'm sure you understand.""

Ivan is taken aback for a moment. "I - uhh - I don't…quite understand the need for such secrecy, but…alright. Yes, sir. I understand." The young man can't help it, flashes of being 'disposed' of fly through his mind, absolutely scaring him. Uncertain of what to do, he adds. "I…suppose I'll see you then. Have a good evening, sir." Of course, he doesn't hang up - who would hang up on a vampire?

"Until I ascertain that you are who you claim to be, I will not risk myself, my property or my people." Beep. The contact is broken. Back at the Vault, Will actually smiles to himself.

Meanwhile, almost at the destination is a midnight blue Jeep, driven by a neatly attractive blonde. The windows are black, of course, the rims silver.

Ivan is a good guy, really. All instructions are followed almost perfectly, though he does flub up a bit in the beginning, offering the blonde a brilliant, winning smile and letting slip a "Hey there. My name's Iv-" before cutting himself off. He has been expressly forbidden contact, and so his flirting will have to wait. Beyond that, he's on the job. And so, with a shake of his head, he holds on to his briefcase, sitting in the vehicle all the while using his illusionary magic to glam up his appearance for the time being. After all, he has people to impress, and a raise to win.

The Jeep moves at the sort of speed a practiced chauffeur does; it's smooth, pleasant and generally pretty efficient. The blonde in the front looks at Ivan once in the mirror, then utterly ignores him. There may have been a flash of interest; nothing too much.

When it comes to a stop, the blonde gets out and opens Ivan's door for him. Outside a building of modern construction, though Spanish design. The door is open. The blonde speaks, a Carolina twang to her tone. "He is waiting inside for you. Please."

Indeed, inside sits Will, still lounging easily on a couch. He appears to be looking with mild interest at the door.

"Oh, ah - thank you." Ivan offers graciously to the woman as she opens the door for him and informs him of the next step. The woman is offered one final smile, almost wryly depreciating in nature. "Wish me luck, eh?" And forward he goes, approaching the vast, intimidating structure and pushing himself through the door. When Ivan catches sight of Will, his brows furrow a bit in confusion, and he continues looking around, as if unsure what he's supposed to find. "Err - excuse me. I…have an appointment with Mr. Grant? I'm not sure if…"

The blonde does give Ivan a quick, coy smile, perhaps a little coveting, though she says no more. Following the man in, she turns to walk up the stairway in the corner.

As Ivan walks in, the youthful man on the couch looks him up and down with a brief, sweeping glance, his face impassive. The same voice as on the phone comes forth, neutral and without heat. "Am I not what you expected? Please, Ivan, make yourself comfortable." All in black, for it is traditional (and easy), his feet covered only with socks. An open bottle of synthetic blood is held loosely in one hand, and a quick drink taken.

Needless to say, Ivan is surprised. Met with the faux pas head on as he is, the young man's eyes widen and he runs his free hand through his hair in an almost nervous fashion. One tense moment, then another, and finally… "You…wow. I apologize, Mr. Grant. I really do. You just…look remarkably young for your age and status. Heh, but I'm sure you get that often, eh?" It's a last ditch attempt at humor, and the man tries for an amiable half-smile, only to succeed in looking a bit uncomfortable. "I apologize. Sincerely. It's not been, nor has it ever been my intention to insult you in any manner. But, ah…yeah…"

Travelling across the room, he glances around briefly, before moving to settle upon furniture opposite of the man. "Is this your place? It's very nice…But, ah! I've been sent to you on behalf of Mayor McNaab, as you know. I don't know exactly how to introduce this, so I'll just spit it out. The Mayor is planning on extending his reach to the vampiric community and further integrating them with, err…human society, I guess, in an attempt to make this a more unified world. He would like your cooperation, sir, and that's what I'm here to plead for."

The Sheriff slowly takes another draught of the synthetic blood, finishing it in short order. His eyes, however, unblinking, watch Ivan's discomfort with something like amusement. Even his lips quirk a little, though he fails to look anything outside an amused predator. "I look as I did when I became immortal. I was fortunate enough not to be particularly old, ugly and fat when it happened."

"There are drinks behind the bar, should you wish," says Will, indicating with a brief movement of a hand as he switches tack. "I have seen the mayor's announcement, watched with interest, and have a simple query. Why?"

Ivan shakes his head frankly. "No thank you sir, I like to keep a clear head when I'm working." He explains, leaning forward a little to rest his elbows on his knees as the vampire poses that particular question to him. Suddenly, Ivan adopts a rather wry, bemused sort of look. "Well, sir. There are two answers to that question, and both are interrelated. Mayor McNaab believes in the future. He believes in equality, and peace through understanding, and by shunting vampires as pariahs in the - err - human world, we will merely perpetuate animosity and hatred and violence. He believes we must all come together as a unified whole." He explains the first explanation, sounding comfortable and familiar with it, as if it was a spin he himself had thought of - because it was.

Will does allow the lifting of a brow, unblinking blue eyes staring flatly at Ivan. The rest of his body does not move, the lounging position either comfortable or a facade. "Masterful spin. I may some day employ you myself. Now the reality."

Ivan cannot help it, at the prospect of being applauded for his handiwork, the man curls his lips into a smile. "Well, that is reality, sir. Just, a selected portion of reality. The embracing of the vampiric society should, in due time, lead to further cooperation. Mind, I'm not - well, by I I mean the mayor - isn't naive enough to presume violence will disappear…but with everything out in the open, it'll bring negative practices to light." Beat. "Err, not just by vampires, I mean. But malpractice from humans as well."

Here, he shifts a bit in his seat, sighing a bit. "On a more practical level, it's in his interest for the future election to have the vampiric population stand behind him. As of right now, the man's approval rating is fair. Fair will not cut it, come reelection. It is presumed that the longer the people know of vampires, the less rabid anti-vampire sentiments will become - most humans wont care. Vampirism is the new abortion, Mr. Grant. It's the new hot topic issue. And Mayor McNaab believes that by cooperating, everyone involved can benefit."

Will suddenly moves, his body blurring with speed as he sits up, rod-straight and rigid, turning his entire body to focus on Ivan, legs apart, elbows resting on knees, his entire demeanour focused, metaphorically crowding into the other man's space with a mirrored posture. "It has reached the point in the conversation where I must tell you it would be unwise to consider leaking any part of what we discuss without my express prior consent." He allows that to stew for a moment, the predatory gleam in his eye suggesting the response may be a little more severe than a public denial, a little more personal.

"We have potential for co-operation, but you must understand a simple fact. Humanity will never fully accept us, there will always be rogue elements killing-" The briefest of pause "-indiscriminately. Mortal lawmen will never accept that I enforce the laws upon vampires in this city, me alone. I opine that you presume correctly; the majority of humans will care little come a few years. So neatly to our real discussion; what do you want me to do, and what do I get in return?"

Ivan blinks when the movement occurs, sudden and lethal. And for a brief, flicker of a moment, fear comes into his eyes - only to be replaced with a practiced calm and solemnity. Slowly, he nods his head to the vampire, although once the sober moment has passed, he allows that same, humorless smile to grace his features. "Nothing will leak, sir. And of course Humanity will never fully accept you - humanity never fully accepts anything. That is our nature. Bits and pieces of everything. All of nothing. It's the price of having variety, I presume."

Ahem. "What we want from you, now? Nothing exactly in particular. An open relationship, built upon communication and cooperation, I assume. Your express support and favor among other vampires and vampire-friendly humans. Oh and…you opinion and presence at an event we're presuming to start up. Mayor McNaab -" Read that as I, since Ivan makes all these 'choices' for the mayor, "has decided that to build cooperative morale, we're going to declare a city-wide holiday. A celebration, with parades and floats at dusk. It will be known as Unity Day."

Will says, "You wish me," says Will, levelly, "to attend a public farce of a parade, where I may be accosted, molested and mocked by the public at large. You wish me to publicly announce myself as vampire to every cretin, every fool with a sharp stick, every member of a far-right religious movement of fanatics. You wish me to put my very existence; all eight centuries of it, into the public eye.""

Slowly, he sits back, a smirk tugging briefly at his lips. "Firstly, I will not be announced as anything. I will be there, and you may use the name 'William Grant' in pre-approved literature. This will send enough of a message to the vampiric population." He leans back properly, languidly turning to lay full stretch on the couch, a psychologist's patient. "This will cost you. A lot."

Ivan arches his brows slightly as the vampire speaks, and he licks his lips, an indicator of nervousness. "Sir. I'd never ask for anything that may jeopardize your safety, of course not. You can rest assured with that. If it helps any, it might be of note that your well being is of benefit to our cause personally. Therefore we will go to extraordinary means to keep you as safe as humanly - err, and inhumanly - possible. So see, there's no ulterior motive or malice behind this request…"

Aggitated, he runs his hand through his curly locks once again. "Yes, sir. We're quite malleable - it will all be conducted under your terms, of course. And…cost us? Well, we expected it might have. Yes, I'm sure we may come up with an agreement that is pleasing to all involved. Around what number figure should I project to the Mayor, sir?" Of course, as a human, Ivan immediately assumes the compensation will be monetary.

"Tell me, Ivan," says Will, savouring the name, "what do you think would happen, were I to be attacked by a group of fifty men, all armed with firearms of their choice? I am, of course, talking about the newly developed weapons with wooden bullets." His attention drifts around the room, eyes wandering as he considers something, briefly.

"The city could not afford the monetary value I would place. Instead… I want three things. The first is simple. A girl has gone missing from the Green Oaks Institution. I do not want her, but I do want her found. I will need to meet her in the flesh, and any other inmate who has absconded recently. Second, I want a guarantee that I may negotiate the release, or at least plausible escape, of any single one of my kind, for any crime, assuming they are held by the Dallas force."

Ivan licks his lips slightly. "That's assuming they could smuggle the weapons into the festivities, sir. Your guard would not comprise of just the Dallas police force. But of the best - from your race and ours, in security." But, it is a scary thought to have, and so he will leave it at that. "The - the girl? What?" He looks particularly surprised at this. "You want Rose?" Beat. "What for? Sir, forgive me for asking, but this is a delicate subject matter. Now I…I suppose politicians aren't known for being an upstanding bunch but I - I…" Rose was a pain in his side. A relative horror. But at the same time, he cannot condone possibly handing someone that he knows over to her death.

The second is easier to navigate. "…Sir, that will be difficult, I must admit. But…perhaps doable. A few adjustments must be made. And…you'll have to send in a review, perhaps. Of how you dealt with every offender. Or perhaps, the same must apply for humans, then."

"The fifty men would be dead within a period of twenty seconds," Will informs Ivan, offhandedly, "and there would be political hellfire burning for both of us, as well as an inflamed populace." There is a brief moment, a quirk to a brow at the name given. "I did not know that she was called Rose." His head turns, to face the man, and he actually smiles, warmly. "Thank you. I am investigating something at the institution, and require to meet her, and any other escapee, to ascertain the truth of something, is all. You need not fear for her."

The Sheriff goes back to relaxing, his arms lifting to cup hands behind his head. "For the second, I will submit nothing to mortal authority, for our ways are different. The offenders will be dealt with, and if it warrants, never seen again in this city. Simplicity itself." Even Will has to submit to the courtly rule of the magister.

Ivan watches he sheriff closely. "I can…I can get in contact with the escapee for you. Direct her to you, pull some strings. Provided I attend the meeting, of course, and monitor the situation. And…it need not be extensive and detailed, sir. But we must be assured that justice is met - I'm sure you can respect this. We can…pull some strings, perhaps. Make sure that you are, first and foremost, the authority on vampires. However, if after an investigation is made and we find that the punishment does not fit the bill, we will have to administer our own brand of justice. We are not trying to strip you of authority sir, and we're certainly not trying to undermine you. All we want is for our people to be safe, and treated fairly."

"I need only shake her hand, look her in the eye and perform a brief inspection of any bite marks she may have," says Will. His eyes are roving over the ceiling, seeking minor imperfections, though his peripheral attunes to Ivan.

The smallest of sighs, entirely unecessary physiologically, but to emphasise the hint of irritation that flutters through Will's tone. "I require only one release, no questions. Rest assured that the one I take will be for crimes against his own people, not humanity. No investigation, no report, no punishment. As mentioned, the release need not be official. I am more than able to stage an escape, however I respect the written law, and require such of vampires in this city. If the police or federals should catch an escaped prisoner, that is the prisoner's problem."

Ivan pauses, eyeing the vampire an nodding his head as he attempts to process the deal entirely, looking for any mistakes he might have made, any loopholes the crafty vampire might have worked in. "So…for clarification. You would like the opportunity to inspect - not harm - the escapees from the mental facility. And, you would like this one ma- I mean vampire, that we may or may not have in custody." Beat. "One vampire, correct? Not all vampires that might have committed crimes against humanity…"

He eases back slowly, looking to the ceiling in a thoughtful manner before swallowing. "I…cannot give you anything official yet, sir. I'm just the messenger, after all, and hold no real authority…" Though, he is the brains behind the operation. "But I believe I can guarantee you that, yes. One vampire who might 'escape' from our custody, and access to any possible escapees from the institution, provided they are not particularly harmed. Is that pleasing?"

Will actually laughs, a rich and vibrant amusement threaded with a realisation. "The vampire is not in custody yet, dear child, but at some future date there will be one I require. You are correct regarding the institution inmates."

"But alas, that is but two of three," he continues, flicking a darkly amused look over to Ivan. "The last is the simplest. Let the mayor know he owes me a favour. There will no doubt be something minor I require at some point, and he can easily discharge his debt."

Ivan licks his lips thoughtfully, before slowly nodding his head and making his way to his feet. It is then, and only then, that he begins to stride forward, right hand out to Will in a friendly gesture, looking to shake his hand. "It's practically a deal, Mr. Grant. It was a pleasure doing business with you." He offers, the mastermind's lips contorting into a wry smile.

"The delight is all mine, Ivan," says Will, "for I look forward to further co-ordination. You should come out for a night of fun some day." Catlike, the vampire twists and unfolds to his feet, the mighty height of five feet eight inches suddenly evident and obvious. A slender hand slides forwards, grasping Ivan's in a neat, businesslike shake. Blue eyes flash up into his head, for only the briefest instant, as his power flashes into Ivan's mind.

It will come in a blur - a flash of disorganized chaos, almost almost like those expected of someone who might be dyslexic. He will see the young man's proud, unfaltering ambitions, his desire to emulate his grandfather, Gregory Umbra Jr., and rule in the senate as a powerful figure. He will see the fact that McNaab is a puppet of the young man's, a rich fool who the young man has manipulated into power so that he can indirectly rule without fear of being penalized. He will see Ivan's utter indifference to vampires, and his fear of dying. More pressingly, he'll see flashes of the escapee - of Rose - in Ivan's apartment, wearing Ivan's clothes.

Meanwhile, Ivan cuts the handshake short. Immediately, he looks to remove the contact, looking to Will with clinical, searching eyes, as if trying to confirm the feeling he had in the back of his head. "What…mhmm. I look forward to it as well, sir. And ah…yeah? You know what, I just might. I find I don't have much time for fun these days. But you've got to live while you're alive, right?" Beat. "Or…I suppose in your case you don't. Heh."

Will allows the contact to end prematurely, though the faintest change to the shape of his eyes would suggest something suspected. "I fear that Erica may tear you from my bosom of friendship; she had covetous eyes upon you. Here." A hand moves, a flash of darkness whipping back then forth, now holding a card. "Call me any time you wish, Ivan Fontane. Erica will look after you." Stepping back a step, giving the young man his breathing space, Will switches briefly to latin. "Aut vincere aut mori." Let the youth think on it, and realise what he faces should he cross the vampire.

Even now, the neat, cute blonde steps down the stairs, as though summoned telepathically, possibly because she was. She has changed out of business suit, now wearing a classic LBD, killer black heels and various diamond bits. "Shall we?" she asks, in that sweet Carolina voice, holding out one hand expectantly.

"Covetous? Does that mean she wants me?" Ivan is highly intelligent. Ivan is highly proficient. Ivan is highly motivated. But, he is still a man. A young man at that, and so this fact prompts an easy, smug grin to appear on his face. "You think?" Beat. "Err. I would understand, sir, due to your relationship with her if you would prefer me to keep away. All I need is an indication, is all…"

But look! There's the pretty blonde now! Giving Will one final, meaningful glance, he nods his head in his direction before beginning to head off, slipping his hand into the woman's. "Why, hello there again…"

"Erica is my assistant, not my property," Will says, possibly unheard, to Ivan's back. Then he turns, back towards his couch, where he stretches out again, staring once more at the ceiling. Thinking.

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